Lentswe, Klerksdorp - Ambassadors of the 2018 Maize Cup took centre-stage behind the Terminus taxi rank in Klerksdorp on Tuesday 10 July as tournament organisers took the party to the fans in the first of a series of exciting appearances.
Ambassadors for local club Free State Stars, Kaizer Chiefs, Chippa United and ABC Motsepe League side Buya Msuthu were announced last week and are all former international players.
They are Phil ‘Chippa’ Masinga, Fabian ‘Clean Sheet’ McCarthy, Sylvester ‘City Mawethu’ Kole and Jethro ‘Lovers’ Mohlala.
The roadshow started in Khuma on Monday 9 July and continued to Klerksdorp and was due to be in Rustenburg (Wednesday), Thursday in Vryburg and Orkney’s Umzimuhle on Friday 13 July where ambassadors were also present to sign autographs, meet the fans and present coaching clinics before a gala dinner in the evening.
Chiefs were crowned champions of the third edition of the tournament, which kicked off in 2015 - then known as the Bokone Bophirima Maize Triangle Challenge - as Platinum Stars beat Mpumalanga Black Aces, Township Rollers and Bloemfontein Celtic to the inaugural title.
In 2016, Orlando Pirates joined the competition and managed to beat Dikwena in the one-match edition of the cup following Mpumalanga Black Aces’ renaming to Cape Town City and subsequent relocation.
Last year though, the Glamour Boys outsmarted Rollers before seeing off Ea Lla Koto in the final with 1-0.
With the Chilli Boys and Buya Msuthu now making their debut in the competition, it will be a stern test for Chiefs, who have recently welcomed the signing of Khama Billiat, as well as ex-Buya Msuthu left-back Letlhogonolo Mirwa, to defend their crown.
The Maize Cup will be played on Saturday 14 July at the Oppenheimer Stadium where Chiefs host Buya Msuthu in the first semifinal at 10:00.
The second match sees United take on Ea lla Koto at 12:00. The final will be played at 16:00.
The Maize Cup is a pre-season tournament that takes place in North West forming a central part of the pre-season preparations of all four sides.